Town replacing Riverhead Country Day School with youth center

Riverhead Country Day School

The Riverhead Town Board decided Thursday to keep the former Riverhead Country Day School building on Columbus Avenue, adjacent to Stotzky Park, with the goal of using it as a youth center and an intergenerational center.

East End Christian Academy had expressed interest in leasing the building for its multi-denoninational Christian school that has been looking for a home for the past two years.

But after hearing a presentation from the town’s newly merged recreation and senior departments on future plans for the site, a board majority opposed renting the building.

Town parks and recreation superintendent Ray Coyne said they are eying the building for day care for both adults and children, having structured programs in the morning, a drop-in center for youth in the afternoon, and specific programing for both youth and seniors.

There could be a pool table and ping pong table, along with hot chocolate or coffee, and the building could be used at night at a recreation community center.

“People from Calverton have to travel to Jamesport to participate in most of our programs now,” Mr. Coyne said.

The merged recreation and senior citizens’ department is also looking to add a volunteer program, where seniors will be trained to assist in recreational programs and special events. That training will take place at the Columbus Avenue building, he said.

Studies show that seniors involved in volunteer programs have significant improvement in their mental health, Mr. Coyne said.

John Howell, a board member for East End Christian Academy, also made a presentation to the board for use of the building. He highlighted many of the points EECA made at two prior Town Board meetings as to why the site was idea for its school.

But Supervisor Sean Walter said the reasons Mr. Howell gave for wanting the building are the same reasons the town wants to keep it.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio was the only board member in favor of renting the building, and Councilman John Dunleavy was absent.

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File photo credit: Tim Gannon